In February of 2023, the formation of Avalon Corp was announced to the world. Avalon proposes to create a platform that gives creatively-minded people tools to revolutionize how games and virtual experiences are built. The company is based in Orlando, Florida, and was founded by leaders from games such as EverQuest, Call of Duty, and Assassin’s Creed. The Avalon team includes experienced game developers who have worked at Electronic Arts, Microsoft, Blizzard, and Sony Online Entertainment.
An interesting fact about Avalon is that the team works remotely. I think this modus operandi will allow them to attract a far wider talent pool.
Avalon Corp. has raised $13 million in funding to build an interoperable digital universe. The company’s flagship product is being built in Unreal Engine 5 and will have some MMO and metaverse elements.
The reason this announcement caught my attention is that former EverQuest producer Jeff Butler is involved. Butler is as old school as it gets and in a good way. He’s got an exceptional understanding of how the virtual worlds should be developed.
What’s In a Name?
The name intrigued me too. In Arthurian legend, Avalon is the island where King Arthur’s sword Excalibur was forged and later where King Arthur was taken to heal his wounds after the Battle of Camlann. Avalon is often associated with mystical practices, and otherworldly beings, and is sometimes identified as a place of paradise or a land of the fairies.
Given all of this mythological history, Avalon is the perfect name for a company that wants to build their version of the metaverse and tempt players with a unique form of escapism.
So far so good.
Who Is Amanda Cait and Why Is She Working for Avalon Corp?
At a glance, the Avalon team seems solid. But one hire has perplexed me. Her name is Amanda Cait. According to her LinkedIn profile, she is a Human Resources Operations Manager.
I had never heard of her until I read the following post entitled: Embracing Intersectionality: Building a More Inclusive Industry. From reading her various posts and reposts on LinkedIn which deal with various woke topics, my first appraisal of her is that Cait sounds like Anita Sarkeesian on steroids.
What follows is the entire text of her article:
Embracing Intersectionality: Building a More Inclusive Industry
Intersectionality recognizes that each of us holds a unique combination of identities, shaped by factors like race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, ability, socioeconomic status, and more. It emphasizes that these identities do not exist in isolation but intersect and interact with one another, shaping our experiences and opportunities in profound ways. By acknowledging and addressing the intersecting dimensions of identity and discrimination, we can build a foundation of genuine inclusivity beyond symbolic allyship.
Let’s focus our efforts on fostering an inclusive culture, implementing unbiased policies, and amplifying the voices of marginalized communities. Together, we can drive real transformation and make a meaningful impact that goes far beyond rainbow capitalism (or “pinkwashing”).
What does intersectionality in the workplace look like?
In an industry dominated by straight white cis men, understanding and advocating for intersectionality is of utmost importance. Intersectionality exposes the interconnected nature of discrimination and disadvantage in the workplace. It reminds us that addressing discrimination involves considering the compounding effects of multiple identities, and we can take specific steps towards creating a more inclusive and equitable workplace.
✅Be a Student-Teacher: Take the time to learn about intersectionality, its principles, and how it converges with various identities. Engage in conversations, actively listen to those around you, recognize microaggressions, share books and articles, implement workshops, and invite experts to share insights.
✅Diversify Talent at All Levels: Think about where you advertise your job postings, and consider if those methods are conducive to candidates across all backgrounds seeing your roles. If you keep looking where you’re looking, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting.
✅Larger Tables, not Taller Fences: Create an environment where different experiences and identities are represented at decision-making tables, fostering a culture of inclusion and belonging. Attracting and retaining diverse talent fosters innovation – only diverse teams can see and meet the needs of diverse customer bases.
✅Be a Better Ally: Review your company’s policies and practices to ensure they are inclusive and considerate of intersectionality in order to retain and attract a wide pool of talent. This includes fostering equal pay, flexible work arrangements, accommodations to promote accessibility, inclusive hiring practices, taking an active role in intervening when witnessing microaggressions, and inclusive benefits that address diverse needs.
Happy Pride Month! 🌈🌈
Amanda Cait, Head of People and Culture at AVALON
Woke on Arrival
My first reaction was shock. My next reaction was disappointment. Everything I read was boilerplate DEI absurdity. All of it is theoretical claptrap with no basis in practicality or reality and none of it has anything to do with the metaverse or building new worlds. There’s no mention of merit or freedom either. This was a Soviet-style screed laden with double talk, virtue signaling, and unproven claims about the benefits of intersectionality.
Why is a brand new company barely two months old, lecturing the public on the ideology of intersectionality, diversity, inclusion, and equity? Who is this person and why should anyone listen to her?
Although she seems like a very nice person, I found nothing in her resume that would indicate she has any quantifiable track record of relevant success or bona fide experience in the video game industry. So why was she even hired?
I am also wondering why Avalon Corp would be hiring an HR person at this stage in their company. Since they are a small startup, they should be saving every penny they have gotten from investors. Hiring an HR person so early seems extravagant.
Amanda claims she is in charge of culture. Sounds to me, that she’ll be more like a Soviet commissar. Given her article and the content of her other posts, you can be sure the culture at Avalon will be woke as hell. Why would anyone who is not on the far left of the political spectrum want to work for such an ideologically driven company like Avalon Corp.
Perhaps, that’s the point.
Preaching to the Converted
With all due respect, Avalon Corp and their employee Amanda Cait have no moral authority to lecture anyone on anything. Her audacious sermon reeks of presumption, narcissism, and hubris. If she wants to cosplay Greta Thunberg and dabble in save the world activism, then she should do it in her spare time.
The devil makes use of idle hands. I suspect the true purpose of her article was to justify her salary and preach platitudes to the converted wokesters on LinkedIn.
Cait’s other posts have a ring of performative shallowness to them. They all deal with predictable talking points of inequality, queer theory, and PRIDE Month. Regrettably, in today’s video game industry, numerous women are often hired to fulfill diversity quotas, but some of them exhibit a tendency to excessively focus on discussions related to feminist and LGBTQ matters. Fake it till you make it. Or, fake it until you are found out, bail, then get a position at another company. Rinse and repeat.
What is Intersectionality? Hint: It’s Identity Marxism
Beyond the platitudinal nature of her article, I doubt any of the Avalon Corp team has a clue about what intersectionally really means and its true sinister nature.
The gist of Cait’s article is her regurgitating the theory of intersectionality she learned in a gender studies class. Intersectionality is just a theory and nothing more. It was concocted in a leftist college cauldron in 1989 by black race hustler Kim Crenshaw.
Here’s a Cliff Notes version of the truth about what intersectionality really is from Ben Shapiro:
Intersectionality has its roots in Marxist thought. It divides the world into oppressors and the oppressed. It preaches toxic tribalism and divisive class warfare. Depending on your race, your religion, your sex, and other factors, you will be assigned a level on the victimhood totem pole.
Inersectionality is really a socially engineered caste system determined by characteristics like sex, and race, and non-immutable new characteristics like sexual identity. Those at the top of the caste, have all the power and commensurate benefits and those at the bottom (heterosexual, white, Christian men) have nothing but do all the heavy lifting.
Declaring Yourself LGBTQ is a Golden Ticket in 2023
Being a victim or minority confers special benefits in our society. Distinguishing yourself as transgender, non-binary, and/or queer is the fastest way to advance your career in corporate America because thanks to ESG scores, every corporation is desperate to look for sexual minorities to pad their numbers and make their quotas.
According to a Gallup poll, Axios reports that the number of LGBTQ-identifying adults is soaring. In particular, the unprecedented rise of people claiming to be transgender (gender dysphoria) is cause for alarm and suggests mass formation psychosis.
The Intersectionality Matrix
Intersectionality is being taught in the unhallowed halls of higher education and in the green mosh pits of corporate America. Check out the Orwellian insanity of the intersectionality matrix in this graph:
Instead of being treated like a unique individual, the dogma of intersectionality determines your worth based on how many victim notches you have in your belt. The end result will be a world full of spiteful people jockeying for position. There is nothing good about this idealogy whatsoever. It is dehumanizing, divisive, and demonic.
James Lindsay, Jordan Peterson, and Jonathan Haight on the Perils of Intersectional
James Lindsay is the world’s foremost expert on neo-Marxism and all its derivative ideologies. He believes that intersectionality is a religion that has its roots in Marxist thought. I find it interesting that Cait describes herself as a “cleric” on the company’s website:
Lindsay is deep but worth reading and listening to:
Like all Marxist Theories, Intersectionality isn’t merely a self-reflexive doctrine. It is also a practice, and Crenshaw was explicit about this point on many occasions. “Intersectionality is a practice,” she has often said. Ok, fine. It’s a religion. We almost all know that at this point, but what is it a practice of? What does it do? Two things: it aims to raise an Intersectional Critical Consciousness, and it does activism consistent with that consciousness to achieve the outward manifestation of its goals, equity. Intersectionality, specifically, is a way to yoke together the various forms of Critical Identity Marxism attendant to this view and this aim into a single meta-system.
James has created some exceptional videos that provide an in-depth analysis of the Marxist Trojan Horse known as intersectionality and the fanatics who promulgate it:
Here are more insightful videos on the divisive civilizational cancer of intersectionality:
Renowned intellectual Victor Davis Hansen shows how intersectionality divided America:
Avalon Corp’s Change Agenda
Much is made about change and changing the world these days. It has become a popular refrain in the zeitgeist. The problem is change is never defined. How can undefined change and change for change’s sake be a worthwhile goal to pursue?
The idea of permanent change harkens back to Marx and Trotsky’s concept of permanent revolution. These days, no matter how much progress is made on race relations we always hear leaders say something to the effect: “But more work needs to be done.” This mindset is an example of a permanent revolution. These organizations have become addicted to change because it keeps them in business and gives them something to fight for — a reason to exist if you will. Striving for change is a quest that can never be completed. If you disagree with the change you are labeled as rigid, a reactionary, narrow-minded, a bigot, and so on.
The Avalon Corp website mentions “change” in not insignificant ways. (Perhaps Amanda Cait had a hand in crafting the sentiment on this page). Here’s what it looks like:
From within our hearts lies our passion to drive for change.
It is only through our creativity, teamwork and sheer will that we can change the world.
Perhaps a hint of what that change may look like is found in this quote:
We’re eagerly building technology that will shape the digital future for humanity…
As to what that change looks like, is not spelled out. The hope and change mantra was used by Obama during his 2008 election campaign and 8 years later we all found out that change really meant a more woke and polarized nation. If that is the kind of change that Avalon is proposing, then I want no part of it.
If change means more responsive developers, better gaming experiences, and kinder online communities that are deeper, more personal, and more immersive, then just say it. That is the kind of change I’d be excited about.
Other Concerns about Avalon
Another area of great concern for me is the level of control that Avalon will be imposing on the world that their future subscribers create. There should be no ideological litmus test for creating a virtual world. If I want to create a historical virtual world based on the Roman Republic in 273 B.C. or the Vikings in 1100 A.D. I should be able to do so without identity politics-obsessed companies like Avalon meddling in my affairs and enforcing gender and LGBTQ equality mandates.
It is foolish for this and any company to expect that the entire world will embrace their woke American values. This is straight-up cultural imperialism disguised as benevolent social activism. The product that Avalon will be making is a tool, just like Adobe Photoshop is a tool. Adobe does not check my political and social views before I use Photoshop each day. But given their obvious radical left-wing bias, you can be sure that Avalon will exert total control, all in the name of serving some amorphous greater good.
While Avalon’s metaverse is a noble dream, it will probably take at least 5 years for them to develop and refine their service. By then, someone may have already beat them to it.
The only way they will be able to succeed is to create a platform that embraces total creative freedom. Worldbuilders will not want to invest years of their lives into worlds that can be censored or shut down on a whim by a woke Avalon commissar, some governmental body, or Deep State NGO that they align with.
From a game design perspective, I’ve got an article worth of questions and concerns regarding Avalon’s proposed metaverse based on interviews with their team. Perhaps I’ll write about it in an upcoming article.
The exciting concept of the metaverse has existed since the novel Snowcrash written by Neal Stephenson in 1992. The novel is known for its exploration of the future of the internet and virtual reality. It’s considered one of the seminal works in the cyberpunk genre.
That dream started to become a reality in the late 90s with virtual worlds like Ultima Online and EverQuest that birthed more accessible worlds like World of Warcraft in mid mid-2000s. Probably the biggest boost this idea has had in recent years is the Steven Spielberg film Ready Player One. Based 2011 on a book by Earnest Cline, this film resonated with me and millions of gamers around the world.
Given the cultural impact of this film and the dreams that many of us in the video game industry have always wanted to achieve, the formation of Avalon Corp was seen as a godsend. Finally, we could realize our dreams and leave the tech to Avalon while we could build our worlds without having to spend millions of dollars in the process and exercise total creative freedom. At last, aspiring worldbuilders could try their hand at the sacred act of sub-creation that Tolkien achieved with his Middle-earth universe.
This may come as a surprise to Zoomers and Millenials but most people don’t like to be indoctrinated. Therefore, any company that wants to build a universal platform for creatives to form their own virtual worlds must be outwardly politically and ideologically neutral. Studios need to exercise humility and restraint and prohibit their staff from participating in any form of moral exhibitionism no matter how noble the cause or how big the bandwagon may be.
The fundamental value proposition of creating worlds we can escape to in our precious leisure time is predicated on the fact that the real world has become unpleasant and over-politicized. Gamers just want to have fun. They are sick and tired of the intrusion of identity politics in the games they play. They will not be drawn to your company and to your virtual world if they know they will be subject to the constant drumbeat of political indoctrination and pious virtue signaling that exists in the real world.
In the past few years with the revelation of the Twitter Files, we’ve seen the state and big tech colluding and engaging in censorship and ideological gatekeeping. Given Avalon’s lack of political neutrality and their obvious hard-left DNA, I have no confidence that they can be trusted.
The only diversity that Amanda Cait has not talked about is the only one that matters in a democracy: viewpoint diversity. Progress depends on societal tolerance for new ideas and perspectives that challenge the status quo and allow everyone to participate in the marketplace of ideas. Good ideas rise to the top, bad ideas fall to the bottom. This time-tested ethos has been part of the reason why Western civilization quickly ascended over other civilizations.
Who is going to bear the cost of intersectionality?
It’s going to be highly skilled straight white males. They are the hapless villains in this twisted fairy tale. To confirm this, all you have to do is read Cait’s article and you’ll see she’s promoting an orthodoxy of DEI wokeness that stigmatizes and pre-marginalizes the accomplishment of heterosexual white males which potentially subjects them to discrimination in the hiring process. As more intersectional people are hired, more straight white males will be denied employment and treated like pariahs. There are only so many positions in a company because staffing is a zero-sum game.
The other people bearing the cost of intersectionality are customers who will be getting mediocre goods and unreliable services. It is already happening in our world thanks to unqualified diversity hires and it will only get worse as accomplished white men are pushed out and retire. These are the grave unintended consequences of a civilization that recklessly banishes merit for the specious pipe dream of a Marxist utopia.
What Avalon Corp is doing by encouraging this individual to make lofty pronouncements on behalf of the company, is an unforced error. To allow someone with no experience, no qualifications, and plenty of unearned hubris to needlessly alienate half of your potential audience and much of the world outside America is mind-boggling and misguided. I hope the adults on the executive team come to their senses and rein in this sophomoric Zoomer posturing before it metastasizes any further.
The ambitious people at Avalon are making a bold claim: They want to change the world. Right now, they are acting like every other woke company in America, all of them repeating the same vapid corporate mantras and marching in lockstep toward their conformist progressive dystopia. Leaders don’t run with the pack, the pack follows them. Followers don’t change the world, leaders do. Steve Jobs didn’t accomplish what he did by being a follower. Avalon Corp needs to jettison this intersectional nonsense immediately, get down to business, and blaze their own trail into the lands of the undiscovered future.
If I were an investor, I’d be extremely worried about the questionable ideological trajectory that this studio is on. Hectoring people is not good business. It is my hope that this article will inspire some serious soul-searching at Avalon Corp.